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Trump hush money trial pivotal moment: Star witness Michael Cohen testifies - Sentinel Colorado

Star witness Michael Cohen took the stand in Trump's hush money trial, potentially shaping the outcome of the first case against a president.

The highly anticipated trial of former President Donald Trump's hush money scandal took a dramatic turn as star witness Michael Cohen took the stand in New York on Monday. Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, is a key witness for the prosecution, with his testimony expected to play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the case, marking a historic moment as the first criminal trial against an American president.

Cohen is set to reveal details about his involvement in arranging hush money payments during Trump's presidential campaign, including payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. These payments, totaling $130,000, were allegedly made to keep Daniels from disclosing a past sexual encounter with Trump. The charges against Trump include 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to these reimbursements, which were reportedly disguised as legal expenses.

The defense plans to challenge Cohen's credibility, labeling him as an "admitted liar" with an agenda against Trump. Despite this, Cohen's intimate knowledge of Trump's activities could pose a significant legal threat to the former president. However, politically, the reliance on a witness with a tainted past could potentially work in Trump's favor by painting the case as a product of a biased criminal justice system.

The deteriorating relationship between Trump and Cohen, once described as close enough for Cohen to claim he would "take a bullet" for Trump, has now become irreparably damaged. Following Cohen's cooperation with federal authorities and guilty pleas, Trump distanced himself from his former ally, publicly denouncing him on social media.

The trial is expected to delve into Cohen's past crimes, with prosecutors aiming to preemptively address any doubts about his credibility. Defense lawyers, on the other hand, are prepared to paint Cohen as unreliable and driven by personal vendettas. Despite the challenges, Cohen's pivotal role in the case is undeniable, as evidenced by the extensive mention of his name during opening statements.

Other witnesses, including former associates like David Pecker and Hope Hicks, have already provided testimony regarding Cohen's involvement in suppressing damaging stories during Trump's campaign. Additionally, jurors have heard audio recordings of Trump and Cohen discussing plans to purchase rights to stories that could tarnish Trump's image.

As the trial unfolds, Cohen's testimony remains central to the case, with his credibility and motives under intense scrutiny. Trump, meanwhile, continues to deflect blame, inaccurately attributing the charges to President Joe Biden and labeling the trial as a "Biden show trial." Despite Trump's attempts to distance himself from the case, the legal proceedings in New York are proceeding independently of any White House influence, underscoring the gravity of the charges brought against the former president.

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